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A Photo for Friday: Blue

A companion piece to last week’s shot: “Blue” January 26, 2014 Pike Road, Al

Montana’s GOP House Candidate Charged with Assault

us-politics

Via the NYT:  Greg Gianforte, Montana G.O.P. Candidate, Is Charged in Attack on Reporter The Republican candidate in a hotly contested special House election in Montana was charged with assaulting a journalist on Wednesday at what was to be a final rally in Bozeman on the eve of the vote. The attack brought police officers to […]

Trump Hires Outside Lawyer For Russia Investigations

Donald Trump

President Trump is bringing in an outside lawyer to help in handling the ongoing Russia investigations: President Trump has retained the services of a trusted lawyer, Marc E. Kasowitz, to help him navigate the investigations into his campaign and suspected Russian interference in last year’s election, according to people familiar with the decision. Kasowitz, who […]

Democrat John Ossoff Leads In Georgia Special Election

us-politics-republicans-democrats

With a month to go before the Special Election to replace former Congressman Tom Price, who became Donald Trump’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, Democrat John Ossoff holds a lead over Republican Karen Handel according to a new poll: A new poll shows Democrat Jon Ossoff with a 7-point lead against Republican Karen Handel ahead of […]

Max Boot on Fox News

newsman

Max Boot has a scathing, but on point, essay on the state of Fox News at Foreign Policy that is worth a read:  The Seth Rich ‘Scandal’ Shows That Fox News Is Morally Bankrupt. If you are unfamiliar with the Seth Rich story, I recommend Dave Weigel’s The Seth Rich conspiracy shows how fake news still works. […]

The (non-)State of Syria

travel-suitcase

A piece from Foreign Policy notes: Syria, after all, is today divided into no less than seven enclaves: the territory controlled by the regime, three separate areas of rebel control, two Kurdish cantons, and the Islamic State area. What is the government’s strategy to reverse this fragmentation, I ask? ”We have absolute faith that this is a […]

Noonan on Trump

us-politics

Peggy Noonan on the President’s staff: It is absurd to think the president can solve his problems by firing his staff. They are not the problem. He is the problem. They’re not the A-Team, they’re not the counselors you’d want, experienced and wise. They’re the island of misfit toys. But they could function adequately if […]

Foreign Leaders Get Advice For Dealing With Donald Trump

Donald Trump Hair

As Donald Trump begins his first foreign trip with a stop in Saudi Arabia, foreign leaders are being told to stroke his ego by complimenting him on the size of his Electoral College win, among other things: Foreign officials meeting President Trump during his first overseas trip are being told to praise him for winning […]

Ebola Outbreak In Central Africa May Mark First Test Of New Vaccine

Ebola Virus And Caduceus

There appears to be what for now is a minor outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and public health officials are on alert: The number of suspected cases of Ebola has risen to 29 from nine in less than a week in an isolated part of Democratic Republic of Congo, where three […]

But, He was Such a Successful Businessman…

us-politics

Setting aside the legitimately debatable notion that Trump was successful in business, it should be becoming clear, for anyone who is being objective, that there are good reasons why electing someone with zero governmental experience is a bad idea.  Throw in not only inexperience but incompetence, ignorance, and immaturity and we get what we are […]

A Photo for Friday: Eye

Peering into the future? (Or something peering at you?). “Eye” June 23, 2015 Pike Road, AL This is really more a Halloween shot, but still seems approach for the times.

Roger Ailes Dead at 77

newsman

The disgraced former head of Fox News, Roger Ailes, has died, aged 77. CNN: Roger Ailes, who transformed cable news and then American politics by building Fox News into a ratings powerhouse, died Thursday. He was 77. The death was announced by his family and reported on Fox News Channel. “I am profoundly sad and […]

Putin Offers Transcripts of Trump-Lavrov Meeting

us-politics

The surreality of this week’s news continues to spiral, as Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered to provided transcripts of the Oval Office meeting President Trump had with Russians Foreign Minister Lavrov and Ambassador Kislyak. WaPo reports: Putin offers to provide Congress with details of Trump disclosures to Russian envoys : Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday […]

Israel Was Source Of Information Revealed By Trump

U.S. Israeli Flags

Multiple news agencies are reporting that Israel was the source of the classified information that President Trump provided to Russia’s Foreign Minister and U.S. Ambassador at an Oval Office meeting last week: WASHINGTON — The classified intelligence that President Trump disclosed in a meeting last week with Russian officials at the White House was provided […]

Donald Trump Was Against Leaking Classified Information Before He Was For It

trump-inauguration-speech

Remember this Donald Trump? Yea, he’s President now and today he admitted to sharing classified information with the Russians: As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining…. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 16, 2017 …to terrorism and airline […]

Report: Trump Revealed Classified Intel to Russian Visitors to Oval Office

us-politics

Via WaPo:  Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said that Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State. […] […]

Ninth Circuit To Hear Arguments On Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban

law-gavel-lights

A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral argument in Hawaii v. Trump, the case in which a Federal District Court Judge in Hawaii issued a nationwide stay against enforcement of the travel ban from six majority-Muslim countries that was issued by President Trump after his first order was barred by […]

Trump’s Law Firm and Russia

Trump Russia

Everywhere one turns, it seems, there’s Russia.

Trump Threatens Comey: You Better Hope There Aren’t ‘Tapes’ Of Our Conversation

James Comey Donald Trump

President Trump continued his tweetstorm this morning with what can only be called a threat directed at the former Director of the F.B.I.: James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2017 So basically we have Trump […]

Trump: We’re Too Busy To Tell The Truth

Donald Trump

Donald Trump took to Twitter this morning and offered a rather bizarre explanation for the reason why his Administration can’t seem to get its story straight when it comes to the reason why former F.B.I. Director James Comey was fired: As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for […]

Trump Claims He Invented A Phrase That’s Been Around For Almost 100 Years

Donald Trump Shrug

In an interview with the Economist, Donald Trump responded to questions about his tax plan by making the claim that he invented the phrase “priming the pump”: [W]e have a transcript from an interview Trump gave to the Economist magazine. ECONOMIST: Beyond that, it’s okay if the tax plan increases the deficit? TRUMP: It is okay, […]

Trump’s Request for Comey’s Loyalty

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Via the NYT: In a Private Dinner, Trump Demanded Loyalty. Comey Demurred. As they ate, the president and Mr. Comey made small talk about the election and the crowd sizes at Mr. Trump’s rallies. The president then turned the conversation to whether Mr. Comey would pledge his loyalty to him. Mr. Comey declined to make that pledge. […]

A Photo for Friday: Reflective

“Reflective” Pike Road, AL April 7, 2017

Some Really Good Questions about the Comey Firing

us-politics

First, wow (via WaPo): the private accounts of more than 30 officials at the White House, the Justice Department, the FBI and on Capitol Hill, as well as Trump confidants and other senior Republicans, paint a conflicting narrative centered on the president’s brewing personal animus toward Comey. To have that many person willing is pretty […]

Today in Poor Arguments (Health Care Edition)

us-politics

From a column in the NYT, What the Republican Health Plan Gets Right I learn from my patients every day about the benefits, limitations and contradictions of their health insurance. One charming 60-year-old with severe seasonal allergies insists on seeing me every few weeks this time of year, even though I tell her she doesn’t need to […]

Polling and the French Election

travel-suitcase

Since a lot of people have had their faith in polling shaken by Brexit and the Trump win (which was not the error some have made it out to be, btw), I recommend the following from Harry Enten at FiveThirtyEight: Le Pen Is Just A Gargantuan Polling Error Behind Macron. Macron’s advantage over Le Pen has been […]

Today in “You Don’t Say?” (AHCA Edition)

us-politics

Ross Douthat: But if the A.H.C.A. stands as the chief policy distillation of Trumpism, then the central Democratic argument in 2018 and 2020 should be entirely clear: Trump is not a populist but just another pro-plutocracy Republican, and everything his party promised you on health care was a sham. You don’t say? Snark aside, a […]

Today in “Please, No” (HRC 2020 Edition)

The headline of Michael Goodwin’s NY Post column is: Hillary’s election loss excuse means one thing — She’s running in 2020. Since I have seen this a couple of places, let me say:  no thanks.  Time to move on.  Perhaps in 2020 we could be spared form political dynasties altogether? (Truth be told, I cannot imagine her making another […]

Perhaps the Best Explanation of the AHCA

us-politics

Perhaps the best column I have read that attempts to explain the behavior of House Republicans is the following in the NYT by Peter Suderman:  The House Health Care Disaster Is Really About Taxes. Suderman writes: It’s unclear what health policy problem this bill would solve. Even for an opponent of Obamacare, it is difficult to […]

SNL Asks ‘Where In The World Is Kellyanne Conway?”

Donald Trump Shrug

After several disastrous and embarrassing performance and the notable decision by CNN not to ask her to come on their programs at all because of her misstatements and misrepresentations, Saturday Night Live sought some help in trying to find Trump Senior Adviser Kellyanne Conway: Nicely played.

Donald Trump Explains The Civil War

Trump Civil War

The White House has made the written transcript of Donald Trump’s comments about the Civil War available to reporters: Found via Twitter.

Loyalty Day

us-politics

Loyalty Day, as many have pointed out, is not some weird thing Donald Trump thought up.  It is an artifact of the weird things we used to do during the Cold War (and even before–it dates to the Red Scare of the 1920s) when we were scared of communism.  To me it is the kind […]

Today in “Asked and Answered” (French Election Edition)

travel-suitcase

Ross Douthat asks:  Is There a Case for Le Pen? I answer:  no, no there isn’t. That concludes today’s edition of “Asked and Answered.” Side note:  because one can tease out things a politician has said that might be reasonable, or that one could see raising legitimate issues worthy of debate is not the same […]

Least Credible Story of the Day

us-politics

Via The Hill:  Trump: ‘I couldn’t care less about golf’ “It would be much better if people would understand that I could go other places that I have. But then they hit me for relaxing. And I don’t want to be known as a person that relaxes because I am working hard and I am working […]

Least Shocking News of the Day

us-politics

Via Politico:  Democrats give up hope on striking a deal with Trump. The only semi-shocking aspect of that headline and story is the notion that there was any serious chance of their being deal-making between Trump and the Democrats to start with.

Line of the Day (Trump’s First 100 Days of Foreign Policy Edition)

us-politics

“Trump’s greatest foreign policy accomplishment to date is to go from massive beclowning of the executive branch to only moderate beclowning of the executive branch without the world blowing up.”–Daniel Drezner. Yup. Pretty much.

Roy Moore Resigns as Chief Justice of Alabama Supreme Court to Run for Senate

us-politics

Roy Moore, who is currently on suspension, has resigned as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in order to challenge Luther Strange for his seat in the US Senate.

Paging Justice Breyer

law-scales-justice-flag

Whoops: Arguments in a technical case at the Supreme Court really resonated Tuesday when Justice Stephen Breyer’s cell phone went off. Mobile devices are prohibited in the court during oral arguments. A spokeswoman for the court chalked up Breyer’s phone faux-paus as an oversight. “He doesn’t usually bring his phone and he forgot,” said Kathy […]

Ivanka at the G20 Women’s Summit

travel-suitcase

Via the BBC:  Ivanka Trump forced to defend father at G20 women’s summit An audible groan went up as she told the room her father was a “tremendous champion of supporting families and enabling them to thrive”.

France: Electoral Rules Matter

travel-suitcase

While the final numbers are not in, it would appear that Emmanuel Macron will win the plurality of the vote in the first round of of France’s presidential elections and Marianne Le Pen will come in second.  Due to the use of a two-round system that requires an absolute majority of the vote to win the […]

The Era of Recusal

us-politics

“I have decided to recuse myself from any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for President of the United States.”–Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. CBS News:  Devin Nunes recuses himself from Russia probe. Fox Business News: As secretary of state, Mr. Tillerson, following through on his pledge to […]

A Photo for Friday: Halfsies

“Halfsies” April 3, 2017 Pike Road, AL

Carly Fiorina Considering Bid For Senate In Virginia

Virginia Flag Map

Carly Fiorina, who failed in a bid for the Senate against Barbara Boxer in 2010 and also ran for the Republican nomination for President in 2016, is considering a run for Senate in Virginia in 2018: Former Presidential Republican candidate Carly Fiorina is “strongly considering” a run to unseat Hillary Clinton’s former running mate Tim […]

Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz Won’t Seek Re-Election

United States Capitol Building, Washington, D.C. Aerial

Jason Chaffetz, who has represented Utah’s 3rd Congressional District since first being elected in 2008 and now serves as Chairman of the powerful House Oversight Committee, announced this morning that he would not be seeking re-election: WASHINGTON — Representative Jason Chaffetz, the powerful chairman of the House Oversight Committee, told supporters on Wednesday that he […]

Despite Reports, U.S. Carrier Was Nowhere Near Korea

USS George Washington Battle Group

Just over a week ago it was reported that the United States was moving a carrier battle group headed by the USS Carl Vinson closer to the Korean Peninsula in response to increased provocation from the DPRK and the rumors that it would attempt some kind of demonstration as part of last weekend’s 105th anniversary of […]

That Didn’t Take Long

us-politics

Via Gallup:  Majority in US No Longer Thinks Trump Keeps His Promises.

French Presidential Elections on the Horizon

travel-suitcase

A week from today the French hold the first round in their presidential elections. See Matthew Shugart at Fruits and Votes for some France 2017 presidential scenarios.

United Unveils New Commericial

United Customers

There have been plenty of online jokes in the wake of United’s PR disaster over the weekend. This is among the best I’ve seen: My own contribution: United's theme music, Gershwin's 'Rhapsody In Blue' will henceforth be called 'Rhapsody in Black & Blue' — Doug Mataconis (@dmataconis) April 11, 2017 I’ll be here all week,folks. […]

White House Press Secretary Opens Mouth, Inserts Both Feet

Picard Facepalm

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer put his own feet in his mouth at today’s White House Press Briefing: White House press secretary Sean Spicer, in an effort to shame Russia’s alliance with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his use of chemical weapons, said Tuesday Adolf Hitler “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons” during […]

Today In Bad Journalism

newsman

A headline at The Hill claims that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg referred to South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham as one of the “Women Of The Senate”: Ruth Bader Ginsburg appears to have been caught up in a gender-swapping snafu, mistakenly dubbing Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) one of the “women of the Senate.” The 84-year-old Supreme Court justice […]

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